Cork Harlequins came from nowhere to halt Catholic Institute’s Munster title march with a shock 2-1 win at Garryduff on Saturday.
Institute were unbackable favourites ahead of this clash — which was moved from Harlequin Park due to fog — having hammered Quins 5-0 in the Munster Senior Cup final seven days previous. But Irish international Cliodhna Sargent returned to the Quins defence and made a huge impact.
Her early short corner strike was going too high but Yvonne O’Byrne got a brilliant touch to redirect it downwards to the backboard, before Insta equalised when Naomi Carroll made full use of an excellent advantage played by umpire Julie Beamish.
But Sargent won it for Quins when her penalty stroke squirmed over the line, the penalty having been awarded when Orlagh Cotter’s goalbound flick struck an Institute defender.
Should Quins beat UCC in their final league game on March 23, they will wrest the title back from Institute for the first time since 2010.
It was also a profitable weekend for College, as they racked up their biggest league win of the season — a 9-0 success over UL — and progressed to the Munster Senior Cup final. Their Ireland U21 internationals Olivia Roycroft and Áine Curran did the business in a 2-0 semi-final win over Cork C of I.
Elsewhere, Ashton’s Irish Junior Cup dream died as they came a cropper 6-0 at home to a clinical Pembroke Wanderers side in yesterday’s semi-final.
A late revival from two goals down by Cork Harlequins wasn’t enough to stop them delaying Cork C of I’s coronation as Munster men’s champions, although a 2-2 draw did wreck David Hobbs’ side’s hopes of a ‘perfect’ season.
C of I looked to be cruising when Ali Smith set up Simon Wolfe for a tap-in with 15 minutes to go, augmenting Andrew Daunt’s opener. But Quins found two late goals from David Egner and John Hobbs.
C of I have two games left, home and away to Bandon, but are a point ahead of Quins, whose league campaign is over. It’s the blues’ first title win since 2010. The other men’s Division 1 game between Bandon and C of I B ended scoreless.
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